Supreme Court denies Trump effort to keep tax returns from House panel

- John Fritze

WASHINGTON – The Supreme Court on Tuesday declined a request from Donald Trump to block the release of his tax returns to a House committee seeking them, the latest legal setback the former president has endured from a court he helped to shape.

Trump asked the high court on Oct. 31 to intervene in his legal battle with the House Ways and Means Committee over access to six years of his tax returns. Since then, Trump has said he will run for president again in 2024, and Republican­s flipped enough seats to take control of the House of Representa­tives in early January.

The court denied Trump’s request without comment, which is common on its emergency docket. There were no noted dissents. A spokeswoma­n for the former president didn’t immediatel­y respond to a request seeking comment.

The battle over Trump’s taxes dates back years: Democrats in 2019 sought copies of his returns from the Treasury Department after Trump flouted tradition by declining to release them as a candidate in 2016. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit ruled against Trump in late October, declining to reconsider an August ruling by a three-judge panel that unanimousl­y sided with the House committee in the dispute.

The Supreme Court’s decision came after it ruled against Trump last month in another emergency case dealing with documents seized over the summer at his Mar-a-Lago club. In that case, the former president had asked the court to allow a special master, to review about 100 classified documents.

Trump’s post-presidency record at the Supreme Court is not particular­ly good, even though he nominated three of the court’s current associate justices: Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett. In January, the Supreme Court refused to block the House committee investigat­ing the Jan. 6 Capitol attack from getting Trump’s administra­tion documents. In 2020, the court ruled that Trump could not keep his tax returns and financial records away from a New York City prosecutor who was pursuing possible hush-money payments during the 2016 White House race.

Trump’s lawyers had argued the latest case raised “important questions about the separation of powers that will affect every future president.”

Chief Justice John Roberts, who handles emergency appeals from the D.C. Circuit, temporaril­y delayed the case to give the parties a chance to submit written arguments.

Time is running short for Democratic efforts to obtain the records: When Republican­s take control of the House early next year, they are almost certain to drop the request. Three GOP candidates for the Ways and Means Committee chairmansh­ip told CNBC this month that they would not pursue the former president’s tax returns.

Neither the House committee’s Democrats nor the Treasury Department immediatel­y responded to a request for comment.

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